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Mongolia: Law Bans Mining Near Water Sources

(Aug. 4, 2009) It was reported on July 21, 2009, that the Mongolian Parliament had passed a law to prohibit mining exploration in forest areas and in areas adjoining river basins. Studies have reportedly shown that in the last decade nearly 1,200 lakes and almost 2,800 streams and rivers have dried up in the aftermath of such activities. To ensure deliberation of the bill in the legislature’s spring session, some environmental protection, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) organized public protests, including hunger strikes. (Mongolian Parliament Passes Law Banning Mining Near Water Sources, NEWS.mn  (July 21, 2009), Open Source Center No.CEP20090721950177.)

Under the new legislation, mining exploration within 200 meters of a natural water source is banned, and all licenses granted for such activities in or near forests and rivers will be cancelled. The country’s Mining Authority estimates that about 300 such licenses have been issued throughout Mongolia. It indicated that the licenses are to be cancelled within three months and that “[g]uidelines on compensation would be prepared soon.” (Id.)